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Eau my! Another cannabis trademark lawsuit

The makers of Cointreau, the French triple sec orange-flavoured liqueur, filed a lawsuit against Canopy Growth for its Quatreau CBD drink brand name for what they perceive is an effort “unfairly capitalize on the goodwill and reputation of the COINTREAU Mark,” according to the complaint.

(This is the second cannabis brand-related lawsuit this week to make headlines: Sacha Baron Cohen sues cannabis company.)

What’s in a name?

The issue is not as much about the look of the name Quatreau, and more about the way it is pronounced — like kwatro — and liqueur brand’s potential plans to create ready-to-drink bevvies of their own. Consumers could, the lawsuit argues, confuse Quatreau with Cointreau.

“They have done so knowing full well that Cointreau (pronounced kwantro) with only the ‘n’ sound differentiating it … is frequently used for mixed drinks featuring sodas and waters, and which plaintiffs could reasonably be expected by consumers to expand to flavoured waters, sodas, and ready-to-drink cocktails, as evidenced by plaintiffs’ recent US trademark registration.” 

But is it really Cointreau if it isn’t from France’s Cointreau region?

Cointreau has a few demands listed in the lawsuit, reports Marijuana Business Daily. They want a court order against Canopy’s trademark applications in the US to use Quatreau, for Canopy to not be allowed to sell Quatreau products and a ruling that they “infringed and diluted” on Cointreau’s trademark.

Competition heating up

It’s a lawsuit worth consideration by even seasoned beverage makers entering the weed drink space — most recently Jones Soda and Dale’s Pale Ale. And the competition is only getting fiercer — drinks are selling briskly in the mature California market — sales increased from $67.8 million to $95.2 million from 2019 to 2020.

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